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Experience Carefully

Planned:
Experimental Research
Designs
CHAPTER 7

ADVANTAGE OF LABORATORY
EXPERIMENTS

Laboratory experiments allow researchers to


see how things turn out when one and only
one thing is changed

TWO NECESSITIES OF TRUE


EXPERIMENTS

Manipulation
Random assignment (vs matching)

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH
Confound

When an additional variable (nuisance


variable) exists that may influence the
dependent variable and that varies
systematically along with the independent
variable.
Confounds threaten internal validity. It can be
reduced through random assignment and by
holding conditions constant.

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH
Artifact

A variable that is held constant in a study but


which influences the relation between the
independent and dependent variables.
Artifacts threaten external validity. It can be
reduced through random selection and
maximizing experimental realism.

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH
Noise-

Extraneous variable in an experiment that


influences the dependent variable but that is
evenly distributed across the experimental
conditions.
Noise does not threaten validity, but it
decreases the ability to detect an effect
statistically. It can be reduced through the use
of homogenous samples.

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH
Person Confound

people who are high or low on this variable


also happen to be high or low on some
individual difference variable that is
associated with the outcome variable of
interest
Reduced or eliminated through random
assignment

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH
Procedural Confound

Researcher mistakenly allows a second


variable to vary along with a manipulated
variable
Eliminated by repeating the study while
controlling for this variable

COMMON THREATS TO
RESEARCH

Operational Confound- when a measure


designed to assess a specific construct
inadvertently measures something else as
well. It can be eliminated by refining the
operational definition (measure).

STRENGTHS OF TRUE
EXPERIMENTS

Eliminate individual differences (person


confounds)
Eliminate other kinds of confounds
(procedural and operational confounds)
Pull researchers into the laboratory
(controlled environment)

STRENGTHS OF TRUE
EXPERIMENTS

Allow researchers to observe the invisible


(e.g. fMRI)
Provide information about interactions
(through stats)
Minimize noise (reduced variability)

ARE TRUE EXPERIMENTS


REALISTIC?

Problem: Artificiality
Solution: Two forms of realism (mundane and
experimental)

TWO FORMS OF REALISM

Mundane Realism- the degree to which the


physical setting in an experiment is similar
to the real-world setting in which the
experimenters independent and
dependent variables are most likely to
operate

TWO FORMS OF REALISM

Experimental Realism- the degree to which


the subjective experiences of research
participants are realistic or psychologically
meaningful. Well-designed experiments
can be high in experimental realism even
when they bear little physical resemblance
to the real world.

ARE TRUE EXPERIMENTS


REALISTIC?

A recipe for experimental realism?


Manipulation

checks throughout an experiment


asking research participants about their
experience
Deception

TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN INTERNAL


AND EXTERNAL VALIDITY

There is a perceived conflict between


internal and external validity because
confounds threaten internal validity and
artifacts threaten external validity.

TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN INTERNAL


AND EXTERNAL VALIDITY

A highly controlled experimental design


will eliminate confounds, but can also be
considered an artifact. On the other
hand, a loosely controlled experiment is
often subject to many confounding
variables.
Experiments that are high in either
mundane realism or experimental
realism tend to be high in both internal
and external validity.

TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN INTERNAL


AND EXTERNAL VALIDITY

Experimental versus nonexperimental


strategies
Laboratory versus field experiments

THE HOW-TOS OF LAB


STUDIES

Setting the stage


Rehearsing and playing the part:
Be

suave
Be nice
Be educated

- Be honest
- Be a good liar
- Be attentive

Replicate as needed